starring PAUL MERTON, CLEMENT FREUD, LIZA TARBUCK and JACK DEE, chaired by NICHOLAS PARSONS (Radio, 4 February 2008)

NOTE: Jack Dee's first appearance.

NICHOLAS PARSONS: Welcome to Just A Minute!


NP: Thank you, thank you, thank you, hello, my name is Nicholas Parsons. And as the Minute Waltz fades away once more it is my pleasure to welcome our many listeners not only in this country but throughout the world. But also to welcome to the programme four exciting and talented players of this game. And on my right we have that long-term player of the game who has contributed so much over the years, that is Clement Freud. And seated beside him we have that wonderful, popular comedian who is such an expert at Just A Minute, that is Paul Merton. And seated on my left, we are delighted to welcome back after quite an absence, that delightful comedy actress and straight actress, Liza Tarbuck. And beside her we welcome somebody who has never played the game before and we are going to give him a warm welcome to that wonderful stand-up comedian and actor now, Jack Dee. Would you please welcome all four of them! And as usual I am going to ask them to speak if they can on a subject that I will give them and they try and do that without hesitation, repetition or deviation. Beside me sits Trudi Stevens, who will help me with the score, she will blow a whistle when the 60 seconds have elapsed. And this particular edition of Just A Minute is coming from the Greenwich Theatre, in that delightful area of south-east London, Greenwich. So we begin the show with Paul Merton. Paul, oh yes, what a good subject to begin with, killing time. Paul tell us something about that subject in this game starting now.

PAUL MERTON: I would not like to be in a position of killing time here in Greenwich. But if we think about the phrase, killing time, it's different to passing the time, that indicates a hobby. Killing time means that perhaps you've arranged a meeting with somebody at Victoria Station at half past three, you look at your watch, they're not there. You get a phone call saying we're going to be 35 minutes before we get there, so what do you do? In that time you have to find some...



NP: Um so who has challenged? Clement?

CF: My mistake.

NP: Yes because...

PM: Was that an accident?

CF: I, my thumb slipped.

NP: So Paul was interrupted so he gets a point for that, keeps the subject and there are 33 seconds are left, killing time starting now.

PM: So you have that rather awkward period when you have to decide what am I going to do to occupy my time until these people that I have arranged to meet up with, turn up. And so what do you do?


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of up.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Yes. Oh yes.

LIZA TARBUCK: Little word!

JACK DEE: Sounds like there's a storm coming!

NP: Clement you've got a correct challenge, you get a point for that, you take over the subject, 28 seconds available, killing time starting now.

CF: In south-east London, killing time is Tuesday afternoon when the most appalling miseries and villainies go on. I have not ever lived on this side of the river. I have never adjusted particularly...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Repetition of never.

NP: There was two nevers there, never never. You...

CF: Boo!

PM: Is he allowed to lead the booing? Is he allowed? Is Clement allowed to lead the booing?

NP: Yes he got a very nice reaction from the booing, didn't he, but it doesn't get him any points. Twelve seconds on killing time Paul starting now.

PM: The sad thing is you see some people in the civil service do nothing but...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of people.

NP: Yes because you did say people before, you were meeting people and nothing happened. Right so Clement you’ve got in, it's all happening on my right at the moment, and...

PM: That's just because you've had a stroke! Be fair! Be fair!

NP: You're absolutely wicked, aren't you! Clement, eight seconds, killing time starting now.

CF: Suicide time is rather more interesting, I always find. Especially in Lewisham. Many people who get on a train at Victoria Station...


NP: In this game whoever is speaking when the whistle goes gains an extra point. On this occasion it was Clement Freud and he and Paul are just playing the game between themselves for the first round. And Clement's in the lead ahead of Paul. Actually according to the pecking order, Clement it's your turn to begin. But I'm sure we'll hear from you Jack, and Liza...

JD: You will! You will!

LT: Of course.

NP: There's plenty of time to go. But Clement we've got now loitering with intent, that's the subject, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

CF: Loitering with intent lacks a certain immediacy which you get in killing time. I would very much like either Liza or Jack to buzz me because I don't want to...


NP: Jack you have challenged. He wanted you to challenge him and you did.

JD: Which is a deviation because that's not in the rules.

NP: That's it.

JD: How much for that?

NP: So Clement's generosity gets him a point but Jack you have a correct challenge, I don't know what for but it's good enough for me. And you take over the subject of loitering with intent and there are 35 seconds starting now.

JD: Loitering with intent is that activity where you are seen to be hanging around in any given area and people assume that you have a male practice for... no!


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: A sort of hesitation.

NP: Sort of, yes, definite I think really. So Paul, a correct challenge, 26 seconds, another point to you, loitering with intent starting now.

PM: The best way to loiter with intent is to intend to loit. And that's what I always do. Find a dark corner of the street, find yourself... find!


NP: Well done Liza!

LT: Two finds.

NP: There were two finds, well listened Liza yes, so you've got in with loitering with intent, 13 seconds starting now.

LT: There's a group of kids down my road who when they all bandy together in their hoodies look like meercats wandering around. Basically looking for somebody's mum to let them into their flat and allow them to sit...


NP: Jack challenged.

JD: That was a hesitation, wasn't it.

LT: I don't know. I'll let, I'll let you think that.

NP: Jack actually I'm the one that decides.

JD: Sorry Nicholas it was, I should have asked you, that was a hesitation, wasn't it?

NP: I think in the circumstances, I will give you the benefit of the doubt and say it was. But I shall redress the balance some time in Liza’s favour.

LT: I hear that brother!

JD: Oh that, that sounded more like a threat.

NP: No no, there are no threats here. So Jack you have loitering with intent, you've cleverly got in with three seconds to go and you start now.

JD: Loitering with intent is one of these things that people get up to when they know very well...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Did we have people before? Repetition of people.

JD: I didn't say it.

NP: No he didn't say it.

PM: Oh it must have been me then.

NP: You said it.

PM: I know I've heard it in the last week!

NP: Yes! I don't think Jack said.

PM: No okay.

NP: So benefit of the doubt Jack again and you've got one second on loitering with intent starting now.

JD: Never in my life have I...


NP: Well Jack Dee was speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point. And with a little help from the others he is now actually in the lead. A first-time player of the game gets all the sympathy Jack, play on it!

JD: Right! See, another threat! Another threat!

NP: Paul and Clement following, just two points behind, then Liza. And Jack it's your turn to begin, the subject, the eternal optimist, tell us something about that subject starting now.

JD: The eternal optimist is how I would best describe myself. Every single morning I wake up, full of sunshine and good hope for the day. Only to have that hope soured and...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: There was a repetition of hope quite quickly.

NP: A bit too much hope there, I'm afraid.

JD: Can I ask the audience not to go uh-oh when! That's unfair, that puts me at a disadvantage and is slightly humiliating!

NP: Paul, 49 seconds, tell us something about the eternal optimist starting now.

PM: One of the great giants of silent cinema, Harold Lloyd, portrayed the eternal optimist in his films. And his character chimed in very much with the 1920s, the jazz age, the arrival of skyscrapers, cars for everybody, aeroplanes. It seemed like the modern world was here. And his particular aspects on screen used to bring forward all kinds of joyful entrusions. That's not a word, I've made it up!


PM: I wonder what it means?

NP: Liza you've challenged first.

LT: It was, yeah I'd say deviation actually.

NP: So Liza you have a correct challenge, 25 seconds available...

LT: Oh God!

NP: ... the eternal optimist starting now.

LT: I know several people who wake out...


NP: Paul.

PM: Hesitation.

NP: Yes, so you got it back straight away, 23 seconds still available Paul, the eternal optimist starting now.

PM: The eternal optimist is perhaps not a particularly bad mindset to be in, always assuming that something nice is about to happen is perhaps better than fearing the worst on all available occasions. I like to think of myself as somebody who is perhaps eternally optimistic...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Perhaps.

NP: Perhaps yes.

CF: Twice.

NP: You had perhaps before. Well listened Clement, a point to you, nine seconds Clement starting now.

CF: Would be someone suffering from Tourette's disease with a speech impediment who wants to be an actor, or appear on Just A Minute. Alternately some extraordinary...


NP: So Clement Freud was then speaking as the whistle went, gained that extra point, he's moved forward, he's in second place now, one behind Paul, one ahead of Jack, and a couple ahead of Liza. That's the sequence and Paul we're back with you to begin, a leap year. Tell us something about a leap year in this game starting now.

PM: I left the civil service on February the 29th 1980. I specifically waited for that day to come around so I would never forget it. In fact this year is also a leap year so I think that...


NP: Jack challenged.

JD: Sorry that's a repetition of year but I'm down, I'm not up with the rules. You're allowed to say the word again if it's in the title?

NP: Yes you can repeat the phrase or any individual word...

JD: In which case I simply apologise! I'm sorry Paul, do carry on, it was a...

NP: You don't need to apologise.

JD: Well I feel I should, I'm polite, aren't I.

NP: It was nice to hear from you.

JD: It's Radio Four!

NP: You didn't know the rules so we won't charge anything. Paul gets a point for being interrupted, Jack gets a point because we like to hear from him and he hasn't played the game before, right! And there are 51 seconds Paul, a leap year starting now.

PM: Apparently a woman can propose to a man in a leap year. I don't know why we should have to wait for that particular period... oh!


NP: Jack challenged.

JD: He went off, it was er deviation and hesitation.

NP: Make up your mind darling, one or the other?

JD: Um everything.

NP: Go for hesitation.

JD: Hesitation it was I thought.

NP: Hesitation, well done! I thought you'd never get there. Right Jack, a correct challenge, a leap year is with you now, 45 seconds starting now.

JD: I live, 45 seconds I've got to talk about leap year? I wish I hadn't come in now! It's one of the...


NP: Clement you've challenged.

CF: Hesitation.

NP: That was hesitation Jack.

JD: Yes it was! And you would have hesitated if you had been asked to talk about leap years!

NP: I don't have to, I have to adjudicate! Clement, 40 seconds, you tell us something about a leap year starting now.

CF: A leap year is also known as an intercalory year. Oddly enough, nothing to do with calories which you eat but with a calendar which, which...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Well repetition of calendar.

NP: Yes that's right.

PM: Mmmm.

NP: Paul you have 30 seconds...

PM: Do you remember saying it? Do you remember saying it, calendar? When it goes out on the radio, tune in, you'll hear it, calendar!

CF: Who are you?

PM: Who am I? I've no idea!

CF: It's age what does it!

PM: Is it?

NP: We're in Greenwich, Clement.

PM: But we're going to let you guess which century!

NP: Paul, 30 seconds, a leap year starting now.

PM: I wanted to be a hurdling champion and thought to myself I am going to have to dedicate myself for 12 months...


NP: Liza challenged.

LT: Two myselfs.

NP: Yes.

PM: Oh yes!

LT: It's petty! Come on!

NP: Well listened Liza.

LT: It's the first point I've got, I think.

NP: A big leap for you, 26 seconds are available, a leap year starting now.

LT: People born in a leap year are commonly known as leaplings apparently. And the whole leap year thing was set up to make sure that the venal equinox in Easter roughly stayed in about the same place, so that you didn’t have Easter bleeding into...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Easter.

NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Repetition of Easter.

LT: Quite right.

NP: Yes.

PM: If you don't mind, that is!

NP: I have to tell our audience I know you warmed, you get your sort of personal prejudices going during the show. But those are the rules of the game! So Paul, a correct challenge, 12 seconds, a leap year starting now.

PM: And so I would hurdle as long as I...


LT: Oh no!

NP: Jack...

LT: That's a hideous error! You said hurdler before, didn't you.

NP: That's right, hurdler.

LT: I apologise.

NP: This was a hurdle, that's right.

LT: Dizzy thumb!

NP: Nine seconds on, with you Paul, a leap year starting now.

PM: Characterised by the fact that it has 366 days in a year as opposed to the normal year that we are all...


LT: Oh!

NP: Liza challenged yes?

LT: I've done it again! I did that on you! I've just given you points, I do apologise.

PM: No don't...

LT: I just wanted it.


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of apologise.


NP: Liza you challenged again.

LT: I did! Nobody likes a smart-arse! But I thank you sir.

NP: Jack you want to say something?

JD: Can I take Liza's buzzer away from her please?

LT: Yeah!

NP: No! She's having a lot of fun with it.

JD: Three times now she has misused it.

LT: Ooohh! Woooo!

JD: It's a waste of everybody's time!

LT: Reprimanded.

NP: It's a very attractive concept, a beautiful woman with an itchy thumb.

JD: Oh you just had a bone then!

NP: Paul, a leap year with you, half a second only, oh that was a bit unfair, starting now.

PM: Between the end of January and the beginning...


NP: Well Paul, metaphorically did leap forward in that round on a leap year and he's in a strong lead ahead of Clement Freud and Jack Dee in equal place in second, then Liza. And Clement it's back with you to begin. The subject now is radioactivity, 60 seconds as usual starting now.

CF: I don't actually know a lot about radioactivity. My activity with radios is confined to switching them on and some a short time after that turning a knob in order to stop the noise emanating from the wireless which I think is what radioactivity is about. Ah...


NP: Paul challenged.

CF: There's not a lot else you can say about it.

PM: It was a hesitation.

NP: Paul yes it was a hesitation.

PM: Yes.

NP: Thirty-eight seconds Paul, radioactivity starting now.

PM: There is some activity that is absolutely useless on the radio. Let me demonstrate.



NP: I should explain to our listeners that what Paul did then was to get up from his seat and leave the stage. And while he's gone Jack pressed your buzzer and what was it?

JD: It was deviation.

NP: Deviation and hesitation.

JD: Well deviation from talking and that's what this is about!

NP: So Paul we give you a bonus point because we enjoyed your particular thought and joke. Jack you get a point because you had a correct challenge, you have the subject and you have 33 seconds, 33 seconds starting now.

JD: Radioactivity is one of those things that we must always be very very scared...


NP: Oh!

JD: Yeah okay the gloves are off! What was it this time?

NP: Liza.

LT: Very very, repetition.

NP: Very very, it's one, it's one of the sort of pitfalls for first-time beginners...

JD: Clearly! Thanks for the warning!

LT: That's sweet!

NP: Maybe you'll get it back some day.

JD: I will try!

NP: I couldn't let that one pass. Liza, correct challenge, 28 seconds, radioactivity starting now.

LT: I like nothing better than to enjoy one of my hobbies, ie. jigsawing in the kitchen, with a little light radioactivity going off behind me. Usually I plug into something of the speechmaking...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Ah hesitation?

LT: Yeah! Large!

NP: I thought you were never going to get it out! Yes hesitation, 17 seconds Clement...

LT: Thank God!

NP: Radioactivity starting now.

CF: I had an uncle who was in radioactivity. This was a very long time ago and radioactivity then was no way as it is now. For instance if you switch on a light, you will expect the bulb to transmit a certain amount of light, would you not...


NP: Paul?

PM: Repetition of light.

NP: Yes, switch on the light, certain amount of light.

PM: Yes.

NP: Don't look so shocked Clement, it's correct. But Paul got in with only half a second to go...


NP: Radioactivity starting now.

PM: If you got a geiger counter...


NP: Paul Merton was again speaking as the whistle went, and gained that extra point. He's increased his lead but Clement Freud and Jack Dee are still equal in second place, not far behind them comes Liza who is going to begin the next round. Liza the subject is my lucky day. Tell us something about that in this game starting now.

LT: I had a wonderful day the other day. It was in fact my lucky day. I took the dog over to the park because I've got the decorators in at the moment and there's absolutely no peace to be had anywhere in my house, apart from the dust which is a separate issue entirely. And the day was a rather delightful sunshiny one, azure blue, scatty clouds coming across, and the silhouettes of the trees making wonderful shapes which I personally enjoyed when nature decides to hand me a palette such as that. I headed towards the gatekeeper's cottage in there, or the boffey as it's hilariously known, and asked for some doggy poo bags...


NP: Jack's challenged.

JD: Repetition of dog.

CF: No.

PM: No.

LT: Doggy.

JD: Oh it's dog and doggy.

NP: Doggy and dog.

LT: Dog and doggy.

JD: Sorry! Sorry Liza, I apologise, I overestimated the er...

LT: Do you want to go and stand over there?

JD: Depends what for, really!

NP: An incorrect challenge.

LT: You've been a very naughty boy!

NP: So Liza has another point, 24 seconds, my lucky day starting now.

LT: So I get handed these things and as the guy is giving them over to me, he says because there's a fair amount that won't fit into my pocket to be fair, he...


NP: Jack challenged.

JD: Repetition of fair and there's no Y on the end of either of those so...

LT: Yeah! How many seconds?

JD: It'll be very few! Very few!

NP: Well listened Jack, 15 seconds, it's my lucky day starting now.

JD: My...


NP: Liza?

LT: Hesitation before he came in.

NP: Liza...

LT: It's just not his lucky day, is it!

NP: Right, a bonus point to Liza because we enjoyed the interruption. But Jack gets a point because he was interrupted...

JD: Yes!

NP: He has my lucky day, 14 seconds starting now.

JD: Can I just say before it does start that I might actually have to take a breath before I talk and that's fairly reasonable I think on anyone's day regardless of whether it is lucky or not. My lucky day was on last Wednesday when you wouldn't believe it but the ice cream man came and stopped outside my house. And what was lucky about it was I happened to have five pounds in my pocket. He was ringing his bell, I went outside and said oh, I'd like a 99 please. And he said...


PM: I'm just, I saw a 99 as a visual thing and I thought repetition of...

JD: I know!

PM: But it's not.

JD: No.

PM: I was going to say repetition but it was 90, two different words.

LT: Yeah.

NP: We at least know how your mind works Paul...

JD: It's not really a visual media.

PM: No.

LT: It's a matter of condition.

PM: Oh it can be explored, it can be explored.

NP: It can be explored. But Paul it was an incorrect challenge so 99, this visual image has meant that you have got another point Jack, incorrect challenge, and you now have only half a second...

LT: Half a second!

NP: ... on my lucky day starting now.

JD: Well it so happened that November...


NP: So Jack Dee was then speaking as the whistle went and gained that extra point, he's doing very well actually for a first-time player of the game. You've got somebody way out in the lead there, that's Paul. But Jack is only five points behind him. And then Liza and then Clement together in third place. And Jack we come back to you to begin, the local post office, a very contentious issue at the moment. But talk upon that subject, 60 seconds starting now.

JD: The local post office is one of the best places you can go if you are a trainee armed robber. Because they very rarely manage to call the police before you pull the gun out on them. At the local post office you can buy all kinds of things. I go there for my stamps and usually find that the man behind the counter pulls down his blind just as I approach. You can buy sweets there as well and newspapers and of you are very lucky, you live in one of those areas where some kind person will come and put the paper on your doorstep in the morning...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Repetition of paper.

NP: Paper.

JD: Well...

PM: Newspaper.

JD: Newspaper and then paper.

NP: Yes that's right.

CF: News. Paper.

NP: No Clement you can't get out of it that way I'm afraid. Jack 32 seconds, the local post office starting now.

JD: It's all very well calling it the local post office. But if you happen to live nowhere near it then it's not really local any more, is it. And that's the point of contention that I brought up with my local post office, saying how dare you call it local, when in fact it's miles away from my house. The bloke behind the counter was not impressed by that argument...


NP: Paul challenged.

PM: Did we have bloke behind the counter before?

NP: We had bloke behind the counter before.

JD: Certainly counter, yes.

NP: We did yes, and so Paul you've got in with 15 seconds to go on the local post office starting now.

PM: I remember my local post office very well back in the 1960s. They had this rather extraordinary way of organising queues. People would come in and be expected to stand behind one another. And this was an outrageous thing because you would go up to the various little gates where people would be working behind...


NP: Liza challenged.

LT: Ah people.

NP: Yes standing one behind the other, people.

PM: Did I?

NP: Yes.

LT: Early, really early on.

PM: Ah.

NP: Early on.

LT: I'm trying baby!

PM: In this show?

NP: In this show yes.

PM: In this show?

LT: It's always going to be people in this show.

NP: Liza you got in with one second to go.

LT: Hey!

NP: On the local post office starting now.

LT: Position nine please...


NP: Jack challenged. What was it?

JD: I was just saying this, ah, counter's closed now!

NP: Liza you have a point, you have one second, the local post office starting now.

LT: Stamps are a very interesting thing to collect. Philately...


NP: So let me give you the situation as we are now moving into the final round of the show. Paul is still in the lead, he is four ahead of Jack Dee, who has done very well for a first-time player. Then comes Liza Tarbuck who has leapt forward in that last round and she is just one ahead of Clement Freud as we go into the final round. Paul we’d like you to start it, the subject is prehistoric woman, 60 seconds starting now.

PM: Prehistoric woman, we know very little about the creatures that lived before man evolved into homo sapien. But prehistoric woman is something that we do actually have some information on...


NP: Clement challenged.

CF: Some, repetition of some.

NP: Yeah some.

PM: Yeah.

NP: Clement you've got in on prehistoric woman...

LT: Not for the first time!

NP: You do have literal minds, don't you! And you have 48 seconds to tell us something about that experience starting now.

CF: It is no easy thing to get in on prehistoric woman. I'm not speaking from any experience that I have had, because prehistoric woman has always been anti post-historic man, which I consider myself to be. At school, prehistory which is what prehistoric comes from, happened after geography and before trigonometry. I'm not sure why one did all those subjects in places where they said secondary education is our thing. Because take trigonometry, it is absolutely...


NP: Jack you pressed your buzzer.

JD: Well I think that was deviation wasn't it.

NP: Yes, he had got away from prehistoric woman on to the educational system. You've got 11 seconds...

JD: Bang to rights, Clem!

NP: Right and you start now.

JD: Prehistoric woman is something that I simply don't understand. To be honest I don't understand historic...


NP: Paul challenged.

JD: Why?

NP: Because you repeated understand.

JD: Oh yes, that!

NP: Yes. It was wrong.

PM: Repetition of I don't understand.

NP: Yes, five seconds Paul, prehistoric woman starting now.

PM: If we go back to the mists of time, to the cromannion period, we shall see...



NP: Just a minute, Clement challenged, what was that before...

CF: Repetition of we in a very short time.

NP: Yes there were two wes.

PM: I'm incontinent!

NP: So Clement you have two seconds on prehistoric woman starting now.

CF: Prehistoric woman starting now is something...


NP: Paul you challenged.

PM: Well there was a bit of hesitation there, wasn't there.

NP: No! There was no hesitation. He was building up a wonderful image for us all to go out on, at the finale of this show. And you've got er... how can it got from two seconds to six seconds? It's never happened before!

PM: Is Steven Hawking in the building? We've just done something impossible!

NP: So no, it was an incorrect challenge and the whistle started to go and you got in before that. So Clement you have another point and you have half a second, you have actually minus six seconds, half a second, prehistoric woman starting now.

CF: Just 66 seconds...


NP: Well I said that was to be the last round and let me give you the final score which is very fair, very close. Liza Tarbuck who came back and has triumphed because she has been so lovely with what she has done and said. But she did finish in fourth place but a brilliant, absolutely brilliant fourth place Liza.

LT: Thank you very much.

NP: Clement was in a very strong third place, and just ahead of him was Jack Dee who hasn't played before, remember. A powerful second place, yes! But out in the lead, four points ahead was Paul Merton so we say Paul you are the winner this week. So it only remains for me to say thank you to these four fine players of the game, Paul Merton, Jack Dee, Liza Tarbuck and Clement Freud. I thank Trudi Stevens, who has helped me with the score, blown her whistle with such aplomb. We are indebted to Ian Messiter who created this amazing game. We are grateful to our producer Tilusha Ghelani. And to this lovely audience here in the Greenwich Theatre who have cheered us on our way. From our audience, from me Nicholas Parsons and the panel, good-bye, tune in the next time we play Just A Minute! Yeah!